Creating Rules Of Enchantment
Where Does Magical World Building Begin?
It can start with the characters, the world, or the magic.
- Some begin with the characters, and then look around for their stage–their world.
- Some begin with a world and then look at magic to make it run and determine what sort of people would fill a world that looks like theirs.
- Some begin with magic and look at how that would influence the world and the people in it.
Ways To Think About Magic
- Magic can be a “character”, manipulating and interacting with the world and people in it.
- Magic can be mystic, inexplicable, special, and outside the scope of day-to-day life
- Magic can exist in the cracks of the world building, holding it together.
- Magic can be straightforward and logical, but be aware that can make it more like technology by any-other-name. A fireball is just a gun.
Do You Need Rules For Magic?
- Some people like to incorporate their magic organically, following intuition and “what feels right’
- Some people follow the magic to all its logical conclusions, needing to know the metaphysics behind it.
- Some people write unlimited magic – but then you have to consider how that effects the world and day-to-day environment.
- Some people write limited magic
- Limited by rules and power flow and physics.
- Or limited by mystic forces and the degree to which the magic interacts with the world the story is in.
- No matter which way you build your world, your magic needs to be consistent.
Why Do We Write Magic?
- The setting inspires magic
- We love believing 3 impossible things before breakfast
- It makes the hair stand up on the back of our necks
- It’s fun
- You can make the spirits come when you call, when you’re the one writing it.
This post was derived from notes from the titular panel at WorldCon75. The panelists were Mark Tompkins, Jo Walton, Kari Sperring, Greer Gilman, and moderated by T. Thorn Coyle.
Is your world magical?